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clematis

Q: I have a vine in my yard that has very feathery seed heads. Do you have any idea what the plant might be called?

A:  The feathery seeds from the clematis vine are very attractive even though the flowers are no longer present. Clematis vines are among the most decorative and spectacular of flowering vines. They are a varied group of mostly woody, deciduous vines, though Clematis armandii is evergreen. There is great variety in flower form, color, bloom season, foliage effect and plant height.The old saying about clematis growth is, “The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap.” Growth may seem slow as the plant builds its root system, but once established, clematis are strong growers. Avoid planting in extremely wet locations as they can be prone to root decays. The site should be open enough to allow for air movement around the plants, but protection from strong winds is also desirable. Provide support for the vine but it should not be grown directly against the home. All parts of the plant are poisonous.  Clematis armandii can be grown in cold hardiness zones 7-9.  This plant tolerates full sun to partial shade. Irrigate vines deeply once a week during dry seasons. Renew mulch to a 2-inch depth in late spring after the soil has warmed unless a groundcover or other method is used to cool the root environment. Work a good general fertilizer gently into the soil surface in spring. Do not fertilize clematis during flowering. In the autumn, a mulch of well-rotted manure or compost will be beneficial.